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11-07-2014, 12:02 AM   #1
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Beike ball head tripod head.

I received my Beike BK-03 ball-head tripod mount this morning. Upon opening the box, I was impressed by it's weight and over-all appearance. The workmanship was top notch and the finish was excellent. This was my first such device, so I was eager to experiment with it.


It came with a quick release plate, so I attached it to the tripod band on my heaviest lens, a Pentax-K 400mm. I figured if it could handle this hunk of glass, then it was up to just about any task I could foreseeably ask of it. I was a little leery of the tightening knobs, thinking it might take a gorilla-grip to put enough tension on the ball to keep the camera and lens from moving. I needn't have worried as the knobs worked remarkable well. With very little tension on both of them, the lens was held very firmly. The mount also comes with an indexing feature for panorama shots. Very handy and well thought out. The ball itself rotates 360 degrees and has one slot for a full 90 degree lay-over. By loosening the indexing knob, the entire affair rotates 360 degrees, as well. It is dampened just the right amount so the camera/lens doesn't feel like it's flapping in the breeze. It also features a nice, very visible bubble level. I might also mention, the quick-release plate has a very reassuring safety feature - double "safety pins" that engage two slots in the head itself, to prevent the camera/lens from accidently slipping from the head unless the quick-release plate tightening knob is very, VERY loose! The unit weights about 13 oz., is rated for a little over 17 1/2 lbs., is mostly aluminum alloy and the ball itself is 1.4" in diameter. It's no light-weight, mini-ball head mount, that's for sure!


So.... am I happy with this device? After a couple of hours of using it, I'd say yes. The one complaint I have is that when composing the shot and locking down the knobs, the camera/lens wants to "settle" a little, so it requires positioning the frame above where you want to shoot in order to compensate for the "sag." It's not like the ball moves, but it..... um.... well, it... sags. Don't know what else to call it. The only thing I miss is the familiar "pan-handle" on the tripod I'm used to using. This isn't the be-all, end-all of tripod attachments, but it is a very well made, well thought-out product. Much more so than I was expecting, and well worth $21.95. It will definitely be in my accessories bag when I'm out for an extended session that requires a tripod. This particular company had the item in my hands three days after ordering it!


Beike BK 03 Camera Tripod Ball Head Ballhead with Quick Release Plate 1 4" Screw | eBay


Dewman
SW Idaho, USA


Last edited by Dewman; 11-07-2014 at 12:11 AM.
11-07-2014, 05:08 AM   #2
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...seems quite a bargain for that price!
I was thinking that you were talking about a much pricier product, before clicking on the link...

Last edited by LensBeginner; 11-08-2014 at 06:19 PM.
11-07-2014, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The sag occurs when the lens isn't balanced properly. So you either need to adjust the collar on the lens or you could get one of these for use with longer lenses. Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

PS. this works great with the DA 55-300mm wr
11-07-2014, 06:37 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
The sag occurs when the lens isn't balanced properly. So you either need to adjust the collar on the lens or you could get one of these for use with longer lenses. Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

PS. this works great with the DA 55-300mm wr
...a straitjacket for lenses!!!
not a bad idea, though... and from a very reputable brand.
Price is a bit high for my taste (and purse!), but nice nonetheless...

11-07-2014, 09:56 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
The sag occurs when the lens isn't balanced properly. So you either need to adjust the collar on the lens or you could get one of these for use with longer lenses. Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

PS. this works great with the DA 55-300mm wr

I can see where this device would work well when shooting in a portrait mode, as the entire rig tends to slip at the quick release contact point, regardless of how much you tighten it. I will only put a certain amount of torque on the screw before I begin to fret over the issue!


In any event, the very inexpensive (Most definitely not CHEAP!) Beike item was far and above my expectations when it came to quality construction, over-all finish, materials used and usefullness. The ball in particular was impressive in that it was large... almost an inch and a half in diameter - thus allowing for very good purchase. For once, a product that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.... and delivers good performance. And no.... I do not work for the company that makes this gizmo.... just thought I'd pass along my good experience with a nice product.


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11-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
The one complaint I have is that when composing the shot and locking down the knobs, the camera/lens wants to "settle" a little, so it requires positioning the frame above where you want to shoot in order to compensate for the "sag."
Sag will occur with "cheaper" tripod heads, sadly. Even with poor balance, a higher IQ head will not sag. That's usually the major limitation of a cheaper ballhead. The Beike head seems well designed but the friction on the ball must not be perfect. Still, at the price, if you're happy all is well.
11-07-2014, 05:33 PM   #7
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Beike ball head redux:

After using the Beike ball head tripod mount for the second day, and having learned it's limitations, I'll post a modified report. Does it sag? Sometimes. If you push it past it's limits, it will. I doubt if any ball head of it's size won't sag if subjected to the strain I put on it. If you put a big Pentax-K, 400mm lens on it and it's perfectly balanced and you shoot on a semi-level plane, it performs admirably. Tilt the big, heavy lens past 10 degrees or so and it begins to sag noticeably. But, where the Beike shines is when using the lighter weight lenses made of polycarbonate, up to the size of the Tamron 28-200mm. I put it to the test with the Tamron and a somewhat similar Sigma and Quantaray and it performed quite well. With the kit lenses and those of that weight class, there was virtually NO sag. This is my first such device, so I have nothing to compare it to, but overall, I'm very pleased with it. As long as it's not asked to do something it's not big enough or strong enough to do, it's a fine piece of equipment. As the saying goes, "There's no replacement for displacement." You can't expect a 4-banger to do the job of a V-8. Simple as that.


I had the Beike mounted on a recently purchased, Promaster Classic Combi 25 tripod. Promaster SystemPro Classic Combi 25 Tripod 29144063672 | eBay I'll mention a couple of things I like and don't like about the Promaster while I'm at it. I found it to be extremely sturdy and very well-made. It's light weight, being made of aluminum alloy. One added bonus, the center section of the tripod is removable and converts into a very nice monopod. When the included short center column is substituted for the long, monopod-convertible one, the tripod can be situated very close to the ground when the leg-locks are released, allowing them to splay out an a very sharp angle.


I have only one major complaint. In order to extend and lock the legs in place, it's necessary to loosen/turn a locking collar rather than the quick-release/lock lever/fulcrum device seen on many/most tripods. This makes any fast, easy, simple adjustments impossible. When you find yourself on uneven ground and need to extend one leg to level out the head, it's a very difficult, aggravating, almost impossible process. The tripod does not come with any type of quick-release plate, only the standard 3/8" bolt. Overall, I like the tripod with the exceptions mentioned. However, I feel it is more at home in a studio environment. That's where mine will spend most of it's time.

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11-07-2014, 06:04 PM   #8
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I'm looking for something like this to mount on my heavy, aluminium surveyors tripod. This may be perfect!

11-07-2014, 07:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
I'm looking for something like this to mount on my heavy, aluminium surveyors tripod. This may be perfect!

Mark, as I said, as long as you don't overload it, I think you'll be very pleased with it. My Pentax-K 400mm lens is very heavy.... almost 3 lbs. When you have that much weight cantilevered out beyond the ball, it WILL sag a mite. In today's outing, using a couple of "plastic" lenses and a Pentax 18-55mm DAL, it performed admirably. Can't beat the price, either!


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11-08-2014, 02:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
Mark, as I said, as long as you don't overload it, I think you'll be very pleased with it. My Pentax-K 400mm lens is very heavy.... almost 3 lbs. When you have that much weight cantilevered out beyond the ball, it WILL sag a mite. In today's outing, using a couple of "plastic" lenses and a Pentax 18-55mm DAL, it performed admirably. Can't beat the price, either!


Dewman
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I've just had a look on e-bay. Very good pricing, including free freight out of China.
11-08-2014, 04:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
I've just had a look on e-bay. Very good pricing, including free freight out of China.

Cool. Let me know your thoughts on it, should you decide to order one.


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11-08-2014, 12:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
Cool. Let me know your thoughts on it, should you decide to order one.


Dewman
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Will do!
11-10-2014, 07:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
As long as it's not asked to do something it's not big enough or strong enough to do, it's a fine piece of equipment.
QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
as long as you don't overload it, I think you'll be very pleased with it.
I think that's true with any head. More expensive ones will only show visible sag at heavier weights.
11-11-2014, 06:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
I'm looking for something like this to mount on my heavy, aluminium surveyors tripod. This may be perfect!
Mark if you want something not too badly priced but built and works extremely well take a look at the Vanguard SBH-200 or 300. I used those for quite awhile until I switched to my Manfrotto system.
11-11-2014, 04:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
Mark if you want something not too badly priced but built and works extremely well take a look at the Vanguard SBH-200 or 300. I used those for quite awhile until I switched to my Manfrotto system.
Thank you! I will do a search.
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